SALISBURY — Maryland State Police confirmed an armed fugitive from Delaware fatally shot during an incident in Salisbury on Monday was killed by a bullet fired from an officer’s gun.
On Monday, a man armed with two handguns who was wanted by Delaware police was fatally wounded after Maryland State Police stopped the vehicle he was traveling in was stopped in the area of Philadelphia Rd. in Salisbury. The victim, later identified as James L. Norris, 25, of Wilmington, was wanted by authorities in Delaware on handgun charges.
Maryland State Apprehension Team (MSAT) investigators developed information that led them to conduct surveillance on Monday at a residence in Delmar. A person matching Norris’ description was seen getting into a vehicle that headed south into Salisbury. MSAT investigators requested a uniformed Maryland State Police trooper in a marked car stop the vehicle and identify its occupants.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m., a trooper stopped the vehicle on southbound Route 13 near Philadelphia Rd. When the trooper contacted the unidentified female driver, the male passenger, later identified as Norris, was seen by police holding his face down in an attempt to avoid being seen.
At that point, Officer Milton Rodriguez, an 18-year veteran of the Salisbury Police Department and a member of the MSAT, approached the passenger side of the car. The officer was wearing identification clearly identifying himself as a police officer and verbally identified himself as a police officer as he approached the vehicle and contacted the fugitive.
The investigation revealed the officer asked the fugitive for his name, at which point Norris put both hands in his jacket pockets. The officer gave verbal orders telling Norris not to put his hands in his pockets, at which point Norris refused and told the officer one of them was going to die. The officer, now in fear for his safety, pulled out his own weapon. According to police reports, two shots were fired, one of them striking Norris, who was found with his hands clenched around revolvers in both jacket pockets.
Norris was pronounced dead shortly after 7:30 p.m. By Wednesday, an autopsy had been completed on Norris, revealing he died of a single gunshot wound to the head. An examination of the wound, clothing and other evidence led investigators to conclude Norris did fire the gun in his right hand jacket pocket, but he was not struck by that round. Investigators believe the round that struck Norris was fired from the police officer’s gun.